All this talk about virtual offices, outsourcing, second lives, and twitter got me thinking about the instant-gratification world in which we live. Though we have yet to discuss cell phone technology in the class, I think it is especially relevant as we discuss how technology can impact our daily lives. I started thinking about my own life and how I, too, have become impatient enough even to check voice mails when they're left on my phone. I often simply call or text the person back and get straight to the point. A friend of mine even called me today, left a voice message, then realized who she was dealing with and texted me the same information she left in her voice message. What did I do? Text her back.
A recent New York Times article echoed my sentiments. We've become, evidently, "voice mail phobic," and the burden of pressing the "playback button" and actually enter a code often ties up our hands. When we finally get to the message it's usually filled with a "Hey Emily, It's (insert name here), give me a call back. Thanks!" Beep! Now, is that really worth my 1.5-2 minutes spent to reach a goal of voice mail boringdom?
According to Yen Cheong, a book publicist in New York, it takes 7-10 steps to check a voice mail message versus the 0-3 for an email. Others in the article note voice mails are "just totally an ineffective communication method, almost ancient now." Other research shows that people take longer to reply to voice messages than other types of communication. Verizon reports that over 30% of voice messages are left unlistened to for 3 days or longer. This is opposed to the nearly 91% of people under 30 who respond to text messages within an hour. People are also 4 times more likely to respond to texts than to voice messages within minutes.
Cell phone companies are starting to cater to the dying of voicemails. The Visual Voicemail, which comes standard on iPhone and others like it, displays a message in a visual in box and allows users to listen to messages one by one and in any order. PhoneTag converts messages into typed texts and automatically delivers them to phones or email inboxes. PhoneTag founder James Siminoff states "Voice mails are totally trapped info." Google even plans to introduce "Google Voice" which will centralize all messages from the phones that people own (mobile, home, office).
Regardless of new technology available, I think this growing trend is indicative of a generational gap. Older folks talk and talk (proof: the 4 minute long message my mother just left me...) while the younger people text and email. Others remark "there is something nice about hearing people's voice." I agree, but there's also something nice in not wasting time.
So my questions are thus:
How do you feel about this? Do you still value the voice mail? Do you prefer to text?
What are the greater implications in our lives... is it affecting the way we communicate with our loved ones and friends?
Is it due to a generational barrier or simply those who are more tech savvy?
Finally, here's a link to the article. Enjoy! http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/fashion/02voicemail.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=technology